KEY POINTS

  • James Harden is open to moving to Boston or Portland
  • The Celtics and Blazers are yet to respond
  • The Houston Rockets continue to find a trade partner for Harden

James Harden plagued the NBA headlines recently although it was tied to the postponed clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Coronavirus cases and Harden’s violation of COVID-19 protocols left Houston with less than the required eight players, forcing the cancellation.

Harden was fined a hefty $50,000 for breaching protocols when he attended a gathering where there were more than 15 people in attendance.

Hence, seeing how the Rockets would play with the trade demands of the 2018 NBA MVP in the air will have to wait.

There were several teams mentioned and the list is expected to grow. The Boston Celtics were already mentioned the past week, but it appears a new club has been added in the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to sources of The Athletic, Harden had deemed the Celtics and the Blazers as preferred destinations. Other teams linked to “The Beard” included the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers. But as most know, nothing prospered.

Ironically, Houston is scheduled to face the Blazers on Dec. 26 at the Ball Arena. It will be interesting if the Rockets will finally play their first regular-season game for the 2020-21 season.

However, Harden may just be going with the flow as he awaits the granting of his NBA trade wish.

Harden escaped suspension, something NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained. He said that being a first offense, no suspension was levied.

Also, the $50,000 meted on the eight-time All-Star was the most that he could hand out.

Aside from Harden, other players who were unable to suit up include DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Kenyon Martin Jr. Positive COVID-19 tests turned out before the game.

The three players allegedly had a haircut at a private residence away from the Rockets facility. This breached health and safety protocols.

For Harden, the wait continues. The number of teams linked to him is growing, but taking him in is not easy. The shooting guard is owed roughly $132 million in the next three seasons, an amount that would require another star in exchange plus multiple assets like a young player and future picks.

Paul George and James Harden James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles past Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers Photo: Getty Images | Sean M. Haffey